Following the operationalization of the banana tissue-culture laboratory of the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office, PAGO initiated the establishment of a techno-demo production area of tissue-cultured banana of the lakatan variety. The demonstration-site will serve as a showcase of the advantages of using tissue-cultured planting materials as well as Good Agricultural Practices in banana production from which our banana farmers can learn and adopt. After an initial establishment of only 450 square meter and about 200 banana plants grown in October of 2021, as of June 2022 it has expanded into a 1,500 square meter demo farm with more than 450 banana plants. The earliest banana established are now on fruiting stage while others are in the vegetative and seedling stages.
In 2021, the tissue-culture laboratory started its full operationalization. Located at the Provincial Demo Farm in Brgy. Merit, Victoria, the facility was able to successfully micropropagate subcultures (s3) sourced from the UPLB - Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) and Mindoro State University, from January to June of this year more than 2,100 bottles of subcultures were propagated. Tissue culture plantlets can be produced in large quantities in a short period of time unlike conventional banana planting materials such as suckers and corms. More importantly tissue-cultured banana can produce disease-free seedlings and they grow and flower more uniformly. A plant nursery is also maintained by PAGO to ensure healthy growth of the plantlets until it become ready for transplanting at the field. PAGO has already started the free distribution of these ready-to-plant tissue cultured banana to farmers and interested clients.
To ensure its sustained operations PAGO has technical personnel who supervises and manage the operations of both the techno-demo farm and the tissue-culture laboratory. Ms. Manilyn Albania, Agricultural Technologist supervises the daily operations of the laboratory while Mr. Jorge C. Gawad, Agricultural Technician is responsible for the establishment of the techno-demo area.
PAGO is likewise keen on perfecting the microprogation technology on saba variety, as it is the primary banana variety grown in the province. This mass propagation of high-quality banana planting materials and the promotion of relevant banana production technologies for wider application in the province is just one of PAGO’s intensive effort to help the banana farmers of Oriental Mindoro.